West Coast Special (Rust Belt Recordings, 2012)
“A few months ago, amid the CDs that arrive at CMP hoping for a review was a 7” 45 rpm vinyl single. I enjoyed the irony of how receiving a vinyl single in 2012 was such an effective piece of promotion, and I enjoyed firing up the Technics to hear it, even if it would have been simpler to go on-line and visit CD Baby. That single featured two tracks by San Francisco combo The B-Stars and I’ve been waiting for the full-length album since. Incidentally, eight tracks from this album are available on 10” vinyl for the “full high fidelity experience.”
The band describes their swingin’ hillbilly sound as “a hearty stew of honky tonk and hillbilly hits” and are rooted firmly in the 40s and 50s. They’re retro and proud of it, and this, their second full-length album,was recorded on analog tape to capture the warmth and feel of a 1950s recording. The seeds of these purveyors of the Western boogie beat were sown when main man Greg Yanito teamed up with upright bassist Eric Reedy in 2005 (Yanito and Reedy also supply the nine original songs here). The current line-up is a five piece capable of putting the bop in your country better than probably anybody since Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys. Of course it doesn’t hurt having Dave Stuckey producing, as he himself made the modern day swingin’ cowboy boogie album by which all others will be judged, Get A Load Of This, twelve years ago, and if anyone knows his way around an authentic sound it’s him. And authentic it is. The original tunes perfectly capture the spirit of their heroes Lefty Frizzell, Carl Smith, Hank Penny, Faron Young, Bob Wills, and Hank Williams Sr. – When The Darkness Turns to Light is very Hank Sr. and I’ll bet Wayne Hancock wishes he’d written it. No Work Blues is similarly Williams-esque.
The covers include the Groovy Joe Poovey rockabilly classic from 1958, Careful Baby, the Western Swing standard My Window Faces The South, and the nicely obscure Bobby Sisco track, Honky Tonkin’ Rhythm which is sure to be equally welcomed by the rockabilly crowd as much as it will the lovers of vintage country. These sharp dressed guys sure can keep the toes tapping and dance floors boppin’ and if you’re partial to Big Sandy, Wayne Hancock, or even BR5- 49 you won’t go wrong with West Coast Special.” –Duncan Warwick, November 2012, COUNTRY MUSIC PEOPLE